Tag Archives: Magda of Mayne Island

Where Should Magda Go Next?


Where should Magda go next?
I’d like to take her to another island. Perhaps she can go by ferry to another Gulf Island, or perhaps she’ll go to Haida Gwai and solve a mystery there.Then again, she could travel across Canada and visit Prince Edward Island and learn about Anne of Green Gables. What about the Greek Islands? That’s a journey I’d love to share with her. There are so many choices among the hundreds of thousands of large and tiny islands on our amazing planet. Where do you think I should take her? Please let me know what you think.

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Getting a Kick out of Reading


It’s so much fun reading from my latest Magda book at the Mayne Island LIbrary. I ended up saying a lot more to my audience than I’d planned to about why I write and what inspires me. Without their questions I might not have opened up as much. For me it’s all about the joy of being able to tell a story, invent characters, and bring themes I care about out into the open. The adults and children present, with their smiles, laughter and general warmth, gave me the feeling of security a shy person like me needed to speak from my heart.

Another bonus on this occasion, (Festival Active Pass on Mayne Island, )was having my husband, son, a granddaughter and a grandson in the library audience. So much of the time as I write my books I think about how these and other very special people will enjoy it. I guess I’ll always write for an audience I keep in my mind. Guess that’s why I get such a kick out of reading to them!reading at the library Apr 2015

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Bearing the Unbearable Truth


Bearing the Unbearable Truth.

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My Defining Moment


Two Kids Riding Bikes

My defining moment happened on a summer day on Mayne Island nine years ago. If the neighbor’s grandchildren hadn’t been out riding their bikes I might never have written my first book. As I watched from my front porch, it was like a switch had been turned on and I was back on my bike, pant legs rolled up, pedaling down the road. I was strong, free, and independent, just enjoying life as a kid, like those two. I was eleven again, riding my bike, thinking my thoughts, feeling the same feelings. I had to write my book. That day, my own childhood, the children I had known, the books I’d enjoyed and the world of my imagination came together and spilled out onto the pages. I could not stop writing.

I had grown up in a Saskatchewan village — nestled among wheat fields and grain elevators. Like any village, ours was rife with gossip and legends. My imagination was haunted by the secrets and hidden mysteries I overheard while listening silently and invisibly to grown-up conversations. When I wasn’t skating or riding my bike, you could find me curled up reading. By the age of eleven I was writing the kinds of stories I enjoyed, and though I completed very few of them, I started many. I continued writing secretly while raising my family and working, but, always shy, I kept this part of my identity hidden.

But in 2005 I retired and had uninterrupted time. The first week of my retirement I saw those two kids and I started writing my first novel. My heroine, Magda, enjoys the same freedom I had. On her island where deer roam, fences are few, and farms and meadows lie on fertile land between hills and ridges, she rides her bike along quiet country roads lined with salal bushes, blackberries and wild roses, with her friends. They swim in the ocean and build rafts and shelters from driftwood. But all is not as idyllic as it seems on the surface. Magda, whose father and brother drowned in a sudden storm, learns that friendly people who have potluck dinners and bake blackberry pies for their neighbours, have dark secrets, both gruesome and terrifying. Magda’s adventures and her unbridled curiosity challenge the adults in her life.

I owe my three books and one “on the way” to the two kids riding bikes down a dusty road one sunny day nine years ago. Without that sudden coming together of everything I wanted to express, in one jolt, Magda and her friends would not exist

From my entry in CBC’s Writers Write: “Defining Moments”
http://definingmoments.cbc.ca/mediadetail/18448437-Two%20Kids%20Riding%20Bikes?offset=2?offset=2

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To blog or to write


I’ve ignored this blog for several months. I’ve been hard at work on my fourth Magda book. I’m on my eleventh revision now. I think it’s finally starting to come together.
Unless you’ve written a book I don’t think you know what hard work it is. And I won’t tell you how hard it is because I would never want to say anything that would discourage you from starting to write one. Let’s just say that you must really need to do this, really be obsessed with the need to do it! It will use you up, and make you find resources you didn’t know you had. And if you are that motivated, then writing books will give you great satisfaction.
So, you might not hear from me again for a while. Send encouraging thoughts my way, please. I still have a long way to go.

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Author or Writer – re-posted


I’m re-posting this because it’s an on-going question, one that my colleagues keep asking and which has not been answered to my satisfaction.  In truth, I don’t care what you call me.  What I do is write.

Recently, I’ve been wondering if as someone who has and is writing original novels, some of which I’ve published, as paperbacks and as e-books, I’m a writer or an author.  I’ve also had poems, articles and short stories published in magazines and books.

I’ve been reading other people’s blogs where the question, “Am I an author, a writer, both, or neither?” is being discussed.

The arguments appear to fall into two camps: one camp bases the nomenclature on content and the other bases it on publishing.  Camp 1 says, if you write, you’re a writer.  If the writing is your  own idea, originating with you, then you’re its author.  If the writing is about someone else or about their ideas, you’re a writer.  Camp 2 says if you write, you’re a writer.  If your writing is published, you’re an author.

But Camp 2 can be broken down into Camp 2A, which says that you must publish a book, not a story or poem, to be called an author, and Camp 2B which states that the publisher must be a recognized publishing house; you can’t self-publish or be an indie publisher, otherwise you’re a writer but not an author.

The Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary makes it difficult to distinguish between author and writer.  It defines an author as “the writer of a literary work (as a book)” and a writer as “one that writes.

So far, I’m not clear about e-books and which camp you’re in if you consider an e-book a published book.

I would love to hear your opinion.

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Debra Purdy Kong’s Review of Mayne Island Skeletons


Debra Kong‘s review

Jul 02, 13

Image

Young teen, Magda, has her hands full these days. Not only does she have a part-time job looking after a neighbor’s chickens, but she wants to investigate the truth behind an allegedly haunted house. There are rumors that the deceased owner was a nasty man whose wife and five children disappeared one day. Had they left him, or were they murdered?

Magda’s sleuthing skills are also needed in a very real problem when her friend Brent is accused of stealing First Nations artifacts from someone’s home. Brent’s been in trouble before and his mother has decided that he’s unmanageable, so Brent runs away to avoid jail or a foster home. The police and Magda’s mother pressure her to turn Brent in if she sees him, but Magda refuses. She intends to prove he’s innocent.

Mayne Island Skeletons is a mystery for readers aged ten to thirteen, or for reluctant readers. Mayne Island is one of the smaller southern Gulf Islands between Vancouver Island and BC’s mainland, and a terrific setting. There is a real community feel to this story and a pace that reflects the lifestyle of the 1,000+ residents.

Magda has common traits to any great sleuth: curiosity, intelligence, and bravery, but she also has a lot of compassion. Although this book deals with modern day issues such as neglectful mother, First Nations artifacts, and to a lesser degree, the melting ice caps and endangerment to polar bears (through letters from a friend in the Arctic), this book reminds me of a Nancy Drew novel. It’s partly because of the story’s pace but also because Magda’s so polite and well mannered; something not often see in novels today. On the other hand, you’d never see a neglectful mom or a First Nations issue in a Nancy Drew novel, so I’d call this book a lovely blend of old and new.

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What Subjects are Taboo?


July 2nd, 2013 at 7:16 pm

Everyrosehasathornwrites, “It seems to be how tastefully it’s written that counts.”

My response is, I agree. I’m dealing with the taboo subject of child soldiers in my fourth book. I want to let my young readers know about this horrible situation without freaking them out so much they’ll stop reading. I’m treading very carefully.

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New Review for Mayne Island Skeletons


 

Mayne Island Skeletons on June 25, 2013
star star star star

“Amber Harvey’s latest book is a gripping mystery that is perfect for the 9 to 12 age range, and even as an adult I was able to get into her descriptive writing style and the paranormal tale she has spun for all’s enjoyment.”

Smashwords book review by Sierra Cline

Thank you to all the readers of my books who write a review! I feel so grateful when you take the time to tell me how you liked it.

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Kids Who Do Not Like to Read


Mystery books are good for kids who do not like to read. Look for adventure books where the action is driven by talk not text. Books with descriptive text bore children. Find books that are two hundred pages or less. This is so the mystery book does not intimate the child, tween and teen reader.”

These are the words of Taisha Turner at Children’s Book Site  I came upon this site today as I was surfing the net.  I hadn’t seen it before, and was happy to find out that the books I write for 8-to-13-year-olds match the description she holds as a model.

I’m in the midst of writing the fourth in my Magda of Mayne Mystery Series. Happily, these books match her guidelines in three important ways:

Check – Like the other three in this stand-alone series, this adventure novel is “driven by talk not text.”

Check – Description plays a minor but special role: that of setting the mood.

Check  – All of these books fall into the appropriate range in length, of 200 or fewer pages.

As in all good mysteries, however, atmosphere in Magda’s Mayne Island Mystery, Mayne Island Aliens, and Mayne Island Skeletons plays an important part in what gives pleasure to the reader.

So, if you know of any kids who “do not like to read” they should enjoy these.

I’d love to hear from you regarding these guidelines.

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